Both Tameside and Stockport Councils have been handed significant cuts in the emergency funding it has received from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as it tries to tackle the coronavirus.
The Government has cut emergency funding to Tameside Council by over £1.4 million (18.8%), whilst Stockport Council has had a cut of almost £224,000 (2.7%).
Councils in areas of deprivation have been handed a £126m cut overall after the second payment of emergency funding made by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary to fight covid-19, despite many having the highest infection rates in the country, according to analysis from the Local Government Association Labour Group.
According to the cross-party Local Government Association, councils in England are facing a total financial black hole of between £10 and £13 billion because of the cost pressures of fighting covid-19, such as the sourcing of Personal Protective Equipment, and from lost income and savings opportunities. So far, the government has allocated just £3.2 billion to councils to help them through the crisis.
The Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said that the Government “would stand behind councils and give them the funding they need” but has since suggested that councils will not be fully reimbursed for all their covid-related costs.
Labour has warned that the black hole, if not filled, could see councils have to cut essential services like adult and children’s social care face cuts by over 20 per cent to stave off bankruptcy.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“Our local councils are on the frontline of fighting the Coronavirus pandemic and our council staff have gone above and beyond to keep vital local services going and supporting our most vulnerable people through this crisis.
“It is therefore really disappointing to see the Government cut emergency funding to councils like Tameside and Stockport whilst increasing funding in many of the more affluent areas of the country.
“It is ridiculous that many of the areas that are seeing emergency funding cut are those with the highest infection rates and therefore which have most need of the funding.”